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And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and he is to come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end. And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who, together with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And one Holy, catholic, and apostolic church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. And I expect the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.” 5 8
As the object of this work is to furnish a correct view. of the peculiar tenets of the church of Rome, it is not necessary to offer any observations on those doctrines which she holds in common with other professing christian communities, such as the Trinity, the Deity, incarnation, and atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ; the Deity of the Holy Spirit, &c. How far these truths are held in righteousness, and whether their glory is not obscured, and their influence thwarted by the errors and corruptions which are included in the system, are inquiries which will occur in the sequel.
It is somewhat surprising that the decrees of the Council of Trent contain no definition or description of the true church. This deficiency must be supplied.
The church, according to Roman Catholic writers, " consists principally of two parts, the one called the church triumphant, the other the church militant :" in the former are comprised the blessed spirits in heaven, in the latter, all the faithful still dwelling on earth. 5 9
soul was disunited from his body; not that his divinity was so separated. On the contrary, we firmly believe and profess, that when his soul was dissociated from his body, his divinity continued always united, both to his body in the sepulchre, and to his soul in Limbo." “ It is not, however, our belief, that the body of Christ was alone interred; these words propose, as the principal object of our belief, that God was buried, as, according to the rule of Catholic faith, we also say with the strictest truth, that God was born of a virgin, that God died; for as the divinity was never separated from his body which was laid in the sepulchre, we truly confess that God was bu. ried.” Ibid. p. 49, 51.
58 Sarpi, I. q. s. 39, 40. Pallav. I. vi. c. 8, 9. 59 Catechism, p. 94.
The souls in purgatory, it seems, belong to neither.— The church militant is further described as “a body of men united in the profession of the same christian faith, and communion of the same sacraments, under the government of lawful pastors, and particularly of the Roman rontiff, Christ's only vicar on earth.”80 It is "composed of two classes of persons, the good and the bad, both professing the same faith, and partaking of the same sacraments, yet differing in their manner of life and morality;"' but “the condition of both is very different: the wicked are contained in the church as the chaff is mingled with the grain in the threshing.floor, or as dead members, sometimes, remain attached to a living body.''61
Four marks of the true church are generally mentioned by the same writers. 1. Unity, in faith and worship, under "one ruler and governor—the invisible one, Christ, whom the Eternal Father 'hath made head over all things for the church, which is his body; the visible one, him, who as legitimate successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, fills the apostolic chair."03 2. Holiness;“because she is consecrated and dedicated to God, as other things, such as vessels, vestments, altars, when appropriated and dedicated to the worship of God, although material, are called holy;" because, was the body, she is united to her head, Christ Jesus, the fountain of all holiness" (notwithstanding that this same body is said to "consist of two classes, the good and the bad!”) and because she “alone has the legi. timate worship of sacrifice, and the salutary use of the sacraments, by which, as the efficacious instruments of divine grace, God establishes us in true holiness; so that, to possess true holiness, we must belong to this
60 Bellarmine, de Eccles. militante, c. 2. "Q. What is the Church ? A. It is the congregation of all the faithful under Christ Jesus, their invisible head, and his vicar on earth, the Pope.”-Abstract of the Douay Catechism, p. 22.
61 Catechism, p. 95, 96. “The unbaptized, heretics and apostates, the excommunicate and schismatics, do not belong to the church. But the non-predestinate, the imperfect, and even open sinners and concealed infidels, do belong to the church, if they hold the sacraments and the profession of faith, and are subject to the Roman pontiff.” Bellarmine, ut supra.
62 Catechism, p. 97.
church !" 0 3 These assertions are usually attempted to be proved by reference to the holy men who are said to have lived in the Romish communion, and to the sup. posed constant succession of miracles, the divine attestations of holiness. 643. Catholicity. “Unlike republics of human institution, or the conventicles of heretics, she is not circumscribed within the limits of any one kingdom, nor confined to the members of any one society of men.”_"She is also called universal, because all who desire eternal salvation must cling to and embrace her, like those who entered the ark, to escape perishing in the flood." 65 4. Apostolicity : "for her doctrines are neither novel nor of recent origin, but were delivered, of old, by the apostles, and disseminated throughout the world:"_" the Holy Ghost, who presides over the church, governs her by no other than apostolic men, and this Spirit, first imparted to the apostles, has, by the infinite goodness of God, always continued in the church.”60 False and
63 Catechism, p. 100.
66 Ibid. p. 102. Bellarmine has increased the number of the marks or notes of the church to fifteen, viz. Catholicity-Antiquity
- Duration-Amplitude, or multitude and variety of believers Succession of bishops-Agreement in doctrine with the primitive church-Union-Sanctity of doctrine-Efficacy of the doctrineHoliness of life-Miracles-Prophecy-Confession of adversaries
-Unhappy end of enemies- Temporal felicity. These are examined and confuted in the “ Preservative against Popery,” vol. i.
The following summary view of this subject would be amusing, were it not for the glaring falsehoods which it contains. The cause must be bad indeed that can require such support :
“She alone” (the Roman Catholic Church]“ has an uninterrupted succession of her pastors from the apostles of Christ. She alone has always been one, by all her members professing one faith, in one communion, under one chief pastor, succeeding St. Peter, to
hom Christ committed the charge of his whole flock, St. John xxi. 15, &c. and the keys of heaven, št. Matt. xvi. 19. She alone has been always holy and teaching all holiness, by inviting all to holiness, by affording all helps and means of holiness, and by having in all ages innumerable holy ones in her communion. She alone is catholic or universal, by subsisting in all ages, by teaching all nations, and by maintaining all truths. She alone is apostolical by deriving her doctrine, her communion, her orders and mission from the apostles of Christ. She alone has converted infidel nations, with their kings, to the faith of Christ : and to this day sends her priests and mission
audacious statements! As if the fictions of the middle ages, the absurdities of transubstantiation, the blasphemy of indulgences, the opus operatum of the sacraments, had been revealed by the Holy Spirit, and taught by the apostles!
Infallibility is the result of these assumptions. All Roman Catholics believe that "the church cannot err in faith or morals.” 87 This virtually includes the infallibility of the Pope ; since, according to the Council of Florence, he is “Head of the whole Church, and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to him, in St. Peter, was delegated, by our Lord Jesus Christ, full power to feed, rule, and govern the universal church.” 6 8 That general councils, representing the whole church, are infallible, is also implied; but whether always, and under all circumstances, is more than questioned: that they have frequently erred, and contradicted each other, is not questionable, but plain matter of fact. There are some knotty points connected with this subject. Bellarmine, expounding Luke xxii. 31, 32, maintains that the Saviour promised to Peter and his successors, that they should never lose the true faith, nor teach any thing contrary to it. 69 But history informs us that many Popes have erred from the faith; and we know that there have been numerous schisms in the popedom, on which occasions two or more persons assumed the tiara, and that in several instances it is yet disputed which was the legitimate successor of St. Peter. What then becomes of infallibility ?70 Be this as it may, the
aries into all parts of the world, to propagate the kingdom of Christ, She alone has been in all ages illustrated by innumerable miracles. and by the wonderful lives and deaths of innumerable saints. AJI other sects began by separating from her; their first teachers went out from her, and had before acknowledged her authority; they were all censured by her at their first appearance; but she never departed or separated from any more ancient church, or was ever censured by any lawful authority. In a word, she is the great body of Christ tians, descending from the primitive apostolic church; consequently she is the one, holy, catholic, and apostolical church.”-Gother's " Papist Misrepresented,”' &c. p. 85. .
67 Catechism, p. 102. 68 Blanco White's “ Practical and Internal Evidence," p. 34, 69 De Rom. Pontif. lib. iv. c. 3. p. 973. Ed. Ingolstad. 1696.
70 A fine specimen of ingenious and conclusive argument is con. tained in a pamphlet published a few years ago, entitled, “Th
obedient son of the church has no doubt that it exists somewhere. His faith is summarily comprised in those few words "I believe in all things according as the holy catholic church believes;"71 and he willingly “promises and swears true obedience to the Roman bishop, the successor of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, and vicar of Jesus Christ; and professes, and undoubtedly receives, all things delivered, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and general councils, and particularly by the holy Council of Trent; and condemns, rejects, and anathematizes all things contrary thereto, and all heresies whatsoever, condemned and anathematized by the church." 7-2
Of such a church, the holy, the apostolic, the infallible, how great must be the power! How heinous the sin of rebellion against her mandates! How awful the condition of those unhappy beings who are without her pale! Her injunctions are placed on an equal footing with the behests of heaven. The "will" of God, which we are taught to pray may be done on earth,” comprehends, it is affirmed, "all things which are proposed to us as the means of attaining heaven, whether they regard faith or morals; all things, in a word, which Christ our Lord has commanded or prohibited, either in person or through his church.”78 Those who “fall into heresy, who reject what the church of God teaches,” are declared to be guilty of a breach of the first com: mandment :74 they have committed mortal sin, and if
Labyrinth, or Popish Circle ; being a confutation of the assumed infallibility of the church of Rome; translated from the Latin of Simon Episcopius. By Richard Watson."
71 Challoner's “ Garden of the Soul,”' p. 35--a book which Mr. Butler calls “the most popular Prayer-book of the English Catholics." Mr. White's description of his own views and feelings, while a member of the church of Rome, will amply confirm the above remarks. “I grounded my christian faith upon the infallibility of the church. No Roman Catholic pretends to a better foundation. I believe whatever the holy mother church holds and believes,' is the compendious creed of every member of the Roman communion.-I believed the infallibility of the church, becanse the Scripture said she was infallible; while I had no better proof that the Scripture said so, than the assertion of the church that she could not mistake the Scripture.” Practical and Internal Evidence, p. 9.
72 Pope Pius's Creed, 73 Catechism, p. 506 74 Ibid. p. 353.